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No Longer Safe by A. J. Waines
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No Longer Safe

by A. J. Waines

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No Longer Safe sold over 30,000 copies in 12 countries during the first month on sale

No Longer Safe – The Making of the Book

AJ Waines in conversation with book-lover Steve Whellan about her fourth novel, No Longer Safe.

Where did the inspiration for No Longer Safe come from?

I loved the idea of getting four people who appear to be friends, to meet up after a long break, but who actually create a toxic mix when they are left together. The circumstances of the remote location, making the group largely cut-off from civilisation and brewing in their own company gives a volatile ‘hotbed’ feel to the book. With lies, pretence, secrets and ulterior motives, I wanted to create a sense that anything could happen... and it does… and where the worst side of people’s personalities would start to come out.

The weather plays a central role in No Longer Safe. Have you been to the Highlands in the snow?

Yes, I once spent a week’s family holiday in a log cabin near Fort William, when I was about seventeen. I wanted to write about how the snow changes everything – the sounds, the colours, the smells, the way you approach the outdoors. Growing up in the north (Cleveland), we got a lot of snow in the winter and I hated having to walk our dog (a burly German Shepherd kept on the lead) over rutted pavements that had completely iced over, where every step was treacherous. Snow and ice comes in many forms and is both picturesque and brutal. It’s inviting and it can also trap you. I wanted the story to convey some of these extremes at the cottage: the beauty of fresh snow outside and the emerging hostility inside.

The story is based around university friends meeting up for a reunion? Is it based on fact, at all?

There are a few glimmers of fact, but about the places where the students lived rather than the people themselves. Alice’s introduction to new friends by venturing into a different kitchen in the campus block happened to me in exactly the same way, when I first went to University in Lancaster. In the second year, I used to stay over with my boyfriend, who lived in the most appalling shared house – I’m sure it should have been condemned. His bedroom was tiny and like a kind of basic ‘lean-to’ with no heating and slugs used to come in through gaps in the floor. My husband also talks about sharing a house where you could see one of the lad’s bedrooms from a big hole in the bathroom above. Just gross. This clearly made an impact on me!

What success have you had since changing careers from psychotherapist to fiction writer?

I was looking for a career shift, but I didn’t ever dare it might go as well as it has. I have to admit it’s been a real roller-coaster, though. I’ve had plenty of rejections and heartache – getting dropped by my first agent was dreadful, but then I’ve had great luck, too. Essentially, I discovered a passion for writing that I never really knew was there and I’m able to carry on doing it, which is the greatest gift of all. This year, I’ve earned more than I ever have in my life. I’m really grateful for the support of some key special people – they know who they are! I’ve now got a great team around me.
  AJWaines | May 23, 2017 |
couldnt bring myself to get through this one. ( )
  djts5420 | Jul 8, 2016 |
A brilliant read that stayed with me long after I'd finished it.

The story has a superb mix of characters, the innocent and shy Alice amongst a host of unlikeable and nasty people she used to call friends when they were all at university together. Alice has grown up since her days at university and she begins to question what is going on. She suspects that there is a hidden agenda behind their little reunion and that she is being lied to. She becomes friends with a neighbour holidaying in a nearby cottage and together they try to unravel the mystery. However, the neighbour has his own mystery to solve which complicate matters even further.
With a killer living amongst them, a missing child to find and a dead man to hide it is difficult to know who to trust.

I couldn't put this book down. The characters are so well written. You know that they are up to no good but you can't quite figure it all out.
The story was suspenseful all the way through as you anticipated the bad things that could happen. I was not expecting it to end in the way it did and for me, it immediately solidified its 5 star must read status. It's early yet but I can confidently say 'No Longer Safe' will be featuring in my year end list Top Books of 2016!

I received a copy in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  Inishowen_Cailin | Feb 4, 2016 |
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"Four friends. One dead body. Are you in or out?"--Cover.

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